We are currently facing an acute shortage of carers in the home care sector in the face of ever increasing demand.
Yes poor employment conditions have an important effect on the recruitment of carers but I also feel that the constant categorisation of carers as low skilled has a huge effect on the recruitment and retention of carers. I think it also might condition carers themselves to view their work as unremarkable and unworthy of recognition.
Caring as I know it, is one of the most demanding yet rewarding of professions. Good carers need medical knowledge, high emotional intelligence, discipline, people management abilities, dynamic risk assessment skills, and positive behaviour support abilities to name but a few needed attributes.
Savvy home care employers will realise that their carers are their most important asset and the principle means by which their service is judged and therefore succeeds.
Carers are not low skilled workers easily replaceable but rather highly expert and capable employees more akin to superheroes than sack clothed inept amateurs.
If we are to attract more people into caring as a profession we need to alter the narrative in the media from one of undervalued employee to one of a highly appreciated and respected employee.
Since I set up Homecaredirect.ie I have seen first-hand, how carers can react to be given increased responsibility and opportunity. I have seen how they can grow and not just be great carers but also great salespeople, great managers and great communicators.
Too often in the home care sector, carers are pigeon holed as bottom of the pile workers not to be trusted but constantly checked up on and controlled.
I have seen the quality of carers that are out there and how with a little encouragement, they can become self-confident in their abilities and flourish as true champions and advertisements of their profession.